School for Husbands in Niger

Niger is a country in West Africa with the highest birth rate in the world – approximately seven children per woman. The government has recognized that fast population growth hampers the country’s development. Along with advocacy groups, the government has campaigned to delay marriage for teenage girls and encourage the use of contraception. However, in patriarchal societies, men are the primary roadblocks to social change.┬áThe “School for Husbands” is a program for husbands to discuss birth control, family planning, prenatal care, breastfeeding, etc. When the school started, only 5% of women in Niger used contraception. Now, up to 13% of women use contraception.

Do you have any additional ideas/suggestions for how husbands can be included in maternal health initiatives?

Pediatricians Help Identify Mental Health Illnesses

An article from Thanksgiving Day in the New Haven Register echoes the discussion we had in class on Monday. According to researchers, one in five new mothers may experience mental health challenges that impact their ability to effectively care for their children. A pediatrician is in a unique position to assess a mother’s mental state because that physician sees her so often at monthly well-baby visits. Generally, pediatricians believe it is important to promote maternal mental health at these visits because a mother’s mental well-being affects her child’s mental development. However, pediatricians sometimes struggle with how best to address maternal mental health concerns. Can you share any ideas/suggestions that were sparked by Monday’s discussion and/or the following article?

“A New Way to Combat Maternal Mortality”

PRONTO (a Spanish acronym for “Obstetric and Neonatal Training Program”) is a simulation-based training program in Emergency Obstetrics supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The basis for this training program is that healthcare workers in poor regions often do not get to practice for life-threatening emergencies. Read the following article for an example from Guatemala’s geographical “Corridor of Death”, where maternal mortality is triple the national average:

Why do you think these simulations can lead to correct responses in actual life-threatening emergencies?

Dr. Anita – Cellphone Gynecologist

Bihar, India is the state with the highest fertility rate – 3.6 children per woman. Dr. Anita, a recorded voice, is a tool for community health workers that are reaching out to Bihar’s 27 million women of reproductive age. This mobile initiative is part of a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation program to reduce maternal, neonatal, and infant deaths in Bihar by 2017. Health workers dial a toll-free number and ask women to listen to Dr. Anita, who validates the credibility of these community health workers. What do you think are other potential benefits of this audio tool?

Read the article here:



The Chilean Paradox

We’ve learned that restricting abortions leads to an increase in illegal abortions and an increase in complications from unsafe illegal abortions. Chile prohibited abortion in 1989. However, the number of hospitalizations due to abortion complications has declined by two percent every year since 2001. What do you think could be some reasons for this paradox?